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25. FRENZEL v.

CATITO Unknown to Afred, she was married to Klaus

Muller, a
July 11, 2003 | Callejo, Sr., J. | When the
agreement is not illegal per se but is merely German national.
3. Alfred was so enamored with Ederlina that he
PETITIONER: Alfred Fritz Frenzel
persuaded her to stop working in Sydney,
RESPONDENT: Ederlina P. Catito return to the

SUMMARY: Alfred, an Australian citizen, and Philippines, and engage in a wholesome

Ederlina entered into an amorous relationship business of her
while they are both married.
own. She assented.
Alfred purchased properties in the Philippines
4. Alfred purchased a building in Ermita, Manila
and agreed to place them all in the name of
Ederlina. When their relationship
Ederlina put up her beauty parlor under the
turned sour, Alfred filed complaints against
Ederlina for recovery of real and personal
properties. name Edorial Beauty Salon.
DOCTRINE: A contract that violates the 5. Alfred found Ederlinas Manila residence
Constitution and the law is null and void and unsuitable for
vests no rights and creates no
her, so he decided to purchase a house and lot
obligations. for her.

6. Since Afred knew that as alien he was

disqualified from
owning lands in the Philippines, he agreed that

Ederlinas name would appear in the deed of

Petitioner Alfred Fritz Frenzel is an Australian sale as the
buyer of the property, as well as in the title
of German descent. He married Teresita Santos, covering the
same. After all, he was planning to marry
Filipino citizen. Alfred and Teresita separated Ederlina and
from bed
he believed that after their marriage, the two of
and board without obtaining a divorce. them

2. Alfred arrived in Sydney, Australia where he would jointly own the property.
met a
7. A deed of absolute sale over the property
Filipina masseuse, respondent Ederlina Catito. was executed

in favor of Catito after Frenzel had fully paid the

purchase price. 12. Alfred

8. Alfred decided to stay in the Philippines for and

good and
live with Ederlina. He returned to Australia and
sold his
properties and businesses.
9. Alfred received a letter from Klaus Muller
informing 13. Alfred filed a complaint against Ederlina for
recovery of
him that Klaus and Ederlina had been married
and had real and personal properties, alleging that
a blissful married life until Alfred intruded
therein. without his knowledge and consent, managed
Alfred confirmed this upon talking to Ederlinas
friend, transfer funds from their joint account in HSBC
Sally McCarron.
Kong to her own account. Using the said funds,
10. In the meantime, Alfred decided to
purchase another
was able to purchase properties subject of the
house and lot and another parcel of land, and
he once complaint. He also filed a complaint against her
more agreed for the name of Ederlina to appear
as the specific performance, declaration of ownership
of real
sole vendee in the deed of sale. He also decided
to put and personal properties, sum of money, and
up a beach resort.
14. RTC QC: in favor of Alfred.

15. RTC Davao: in favor of Ederlina.

11. Ederlinas petition for divorce was denied
because 16. CA: affirmed in toto.
Klaus opposed the same. Klaus wanted half of ISSUE:
all the
Whether or not Frenzel may recover the
properties owned by Ederlina in the Philippines properties or
the money used in the purchase
he would agree to a divorce. Worse, Klaus
threatened NO. A contract that violates the Constitution

to file a bigamy case against Ederlina. and the law is null and void and vests no rights
and creates no obligations.




Lands of the public domain, which includes


lands, may be transferred or conveyed only to

individuals or entities qualified to acquire or


private lands or lands of the public domains.


whether individuals or corporations, have been

disqualified from acquiring lands of the public


Hence, they have also been disqualified from


private lands.

Even if the sales in question were entered into

by him

as the real vendee, the said transactions are in


of the Constitution; hence, are null and void ab

3. public policy, cannot be done directly.

7. Ex dolo oritur actio and In pari delicto

potior est
A contract that violates the Constitution and
the law, is condition defendentis.

null and void and vests no rights and creates no 8. The petitioner cannot feign ignorance of the

obligations. It produces no legal effect at all. constitutional proscription, nor claim that he
acted in
4. The petitioner, being a party to an illegal
contract, good faith, let alone assert that he is less guilty
than the
cannot come into a court of law and ask to have
his respondent.

illegal objective carried out. One who loses his He was fully aware that he was
disqualified from acquiring and owning lands
or property by knowingly engaging in a contract under
Philippine law even before he purchased the
transaction which involves his own moral
properties; and, to skirt the constitutional
may not maintain an action for his losses.
the petitioner had the deed of sal placed under
5. To him, who moves in deliberation and the
respondents name as the sole vendee thereof.
the law is unyielding. The law will not aid either
9. Frenzel admitted on cross-examination that
he was all
to an illegal contract or agreement; it leaves the
along legally married to Teresita Santos Frenzel,
where it finds them.
Catito was married to Klaus Muller. Thus,
6. Under Article 1412, the petitioner cannot Frenzel and
have the
Catito could not lawfully join in wedlock.
subject properties deeded to him or allow him
10. The petitioner cannot find solace in Article
or allow
him to recover the money he had spent for the
When the agreement is not illegal per se but
thereof. Equity as a rule will follow the law and
merely prohibited, and the prohibition by the
will not
permit that to be done indirectly which,
because of pure
is deigned for the protection of the plaintiff, he June 4, 1974 a Deed of Sale and Transfer of
may, Possessory Rights was executed by Armando
Altares, conveying a parcel of land in favor of
if public policy is thereby enhanced, recover Criselda Cheesman. Thomas, although aware of
the deed, did not object to the transfer being
what made only to his wife. Tax declarations for the
said property were issued in the name of
he has paid or delivered. Criselda Cheesman alone and she assumed
exclusive management and administration of the
11. The provision applied only to those
contracts which are
July 1, 1981 Criselda sold the property to
merely prohibited, in order to benefit private Estelita Padilla without knowledge and consent
interests. of Thomas
July 31, 1981 Thomas filed a suit for the
It does not apply to contracts void ab initio. annulment of the sale on the ground that the
transaction had been executed without his
12. The sales of three parcels of Land in favor of
knowledge and consent. Criselda filed an
Frenzel answer alleging that the property sold was
paraphernal, having purchased the property
who is a foreigner is illegal per se. The from her own money; that Thomas, an American
transactions are was disqualified to have any interest or right of
ownership in the land and; that Estelita was a
void ab initio because they were entered into in buyer in good faith

violation of the Constitution. Thus, to allow him During the trial, it was found out that the transfer
to of property took place during the existence of
their marriage as it was acquired on June 4,
recover the properties or the money used in the 1974
June 24, 1982 RTC declared the sale
purchase of the parcels of land would be executed by Criselda void ab initio and ordered
subversive of the delivery of the property to Thomas as
administrator of the conjugal property. The
public policy. judgment was however set aside as regards
Estelita Padilla on a petition for relief filed by the
G.R. No. 74833 January 21, 1991 latter, grounded on "fraud, mistake and/or
excusable negligence" which had seriously
impaired her right to present her case
THOMAS C. CHEESMAN, petitioner,
adequately. "After the petition for relief from
judgment was given due course," according to
petitioner, "a new judge presided over the case."
ESTELITA PADILLA, respondents.
Thomas appealed to IAC where he assailed the
Facts: granting of of granting Estelita Padilla's petition
for relief, and its resolution of matters not subject
This appeal concerns the attempt by an of said petition; of declaring valid the sale to
American citizen (petitioner Thomas Cheesman) Estelita Padilla despite the lack of consent
to annul for lack of consent on his part the sale thereto by him, and the presumption of the
by his Filipino wife (Criselda) of a residential lot conjugal character of the property in question
and building to Estelita Padilla pursuant to Article 160 of the Civil Code; of
December 4, 1970 Thomas Cheesman and disregarding the judgment of June 24, 1982
Criselda Cheesman were married but have been which, not having been set aside as against
separated since February 15, 1981 Criselda Cheesman, continued to be binding on
her; and of making findings of fact not supported
by evidence. On January 7, 1986, IAC found all considerations just set out militate, on high
of these contentions without merit. constitutional grounds, against his recovering
and holding the property so acquired or any part
Hence this petition thereof. And whether in such an event, he may
Issue: recover from his wife any share of the money
used for the purchase or charge her with
1. WoN Criselda can sell the property in unauthorized disposition or expenditure of
question without her husbands consent; conjugal funds is not now inquired into; that
YES would be, in the premises, a purely academic
2. WoN Thomas, being an American exercise. An equally decisive consideration is
citizen, can question the sale; NO that Estelita Padilla is a purchaser in good faith,
3. WoN Estelita was a buyer of good both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court
faith;YES having found that Cheesman's own conduct had
led her to believe the property to be exclusive
property of the latter's wife, freely disposable by
Held: her without his consent or intervention. An
innocent buyer for value, she is entitled to the
The fundamental law prohibits the sale to aliens protection of the law in her purchase, particularly
of residential land. Section 14, Article XIV of the as against Cheesman, who would assert rights
1973 Constitution ordains that, "Save in cases of to the property denied him by both letter and
hereditary succession, no private land shall be spirit of the Constitution itself.
transferred or conveyed except to individuals,
corporations, or associations qualified to acquire WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is
or hold lands of the public domain." Petitioner AFFIRMED, with costs against petitioner.
Thomas Cheesman was, of course, charged
with knowledge of this prohibition. Thus, SO ORDERED.
assuming that it was his intention that the lot in
question be purchased by him and his wife, he
acquired no right whatever over the property
by virtue of that purchase; and in attempting
to acquire a right or interest in land,
vicariously and clandestinely, he knowingly
violated the Constitution; the sale as to him
was null and void. 31 In any event, he had and
has no capacity or personality to question
the subsequent sale of the same property by
his wife on the theory that in so doing he is
merely exercising the prerogative of a
husband in respect of conjugal property. To
sustain such a theory would permit indirect
controversion of the constitutional
prohibition. If the property were to be
declared conjugal, this would accord to the
alien husband a not insubstantial interest
and right over land, as he would then have a
decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition.
This is a right that the Constitution does not
permit him to have.

As already observed, the finding that his wife

had used her own money to purchase the
property cannot, and will not, at this stage of
the proceedings be reviewed and overturned.
But even if it were a fact that said wife had used
conjugal funds to make the acquisition, the